Long before Congress, a notoriously conservative Court started taking pollution seriously.
Well over a century ago, the Supreme Court ruled that it had that power to remedy interstate water pollution. That was in 1901. Six years later, the Court decided its first air pollution case. Notably, these cases came during the conservative Lochner era when the Court was hardly known for its liberalism. Quite the contrary. …CONTINUE READING
Frank G. Wells Clinic Faculty File Amicus Brief on Behalf of Law Professors in California Restaurant Association v. City of Berkeley
Supporting Berkeley’s ability to decide where utility infrastructure may be built
This week, as part of the Frank G. Wells Clinic in Environmental Law, Cara Horowitz, Julia Stein, and I filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of seven law professors in the Ninth Circuit case California Restaurant Association v. City of Berkeley, in which the California Restaurant Association (CRA), an industry association, is challenging a …CONTINUE READING
Illinois passes pathbreaking energy law.
Last week, Illinois’s governor signed into law a major piece of climate legislation. The law deserves more attention than it has received. Sadly, however, Illinois seems to be something of a neglected stepchild in the media. That’s a pity, because there are some important lessons in Illinois’s experience, both for the Midwest and the country …CONTINUE READING
The bill gives the Feds broad authority to authorize transmission projects.
We will need a much more robust transmission in coming years. Sources of renewable energy, such as Iowa wind farms, are often located far from the urban centers that need the power. Transmission also helps to deal with weather issues that may impact renewables: even if it’s too cloudy for solar in one state, the …CONTINUE READING
Guest Contributor Jetta Cook: Greater Than the Sum: Sub-national Renewable Energy Policy during the Trump Administration
Even Red-States Supported and Increased Renewable Energy during the Trump Administration
Below the federal level, it’s difficult to discern the impact that the Trump Administration had on energy policy. To take a closer look, I conducted a fifty-state survey to discern how state, local, and public utility actions affecting energy policy came together as a whole over the past four years. Across the nation, I found, …CONTINUE READING
After much travail, the state has finally put a price on carbon.
The Washington state legislature passed a historic climate change bill on April 24. The bill requires a 95% cut in carbon emissions by 2050. After much travail, the state has finally managed to put a price on carbon by adopting a cap-and-trade system. With the decision of additional states to join the east coast RGGI …CONTINUE READING
Three liberal states with very different climate records.
Although California, Oregon, and Washington are often considered liberal bastions, they differ widely in how much they’ve been able to do in climate policy. The scale of their responses has been pretty much proportional to how much of their populations are urban, with conservative rural areas in each state that resist climate action. California. California …CONTINUE READING
What have we learned about dealing with mega-risks?
The response to the COVID-19 pandemic has driven home some lessons about governance. Those lessons have broader application — for instance, to climate governance. We can’t afford for the federal government to flunk Crisis Management 101 again. Here are five key lessons: 1. Effective leadership from the top is indispensable. Major problems require action by …CONTINUE READING
A lesson in judicial humility and a thought experiment about property rights
This topic may be a bit far afield for this blog, but dinosaurs are always worth considering . . . The Montana Supreme Court has resolved an intriguing dispute about ownership of fossilized dinosaur remains that turned on the question of whether those remains were or were not “minerals.” In the process, the Montana court …CONTINUE READING
Which court has jurisdiction? State court or federal?
Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in two climate change cases brought against the oil industry. The court ruled on a narrow but important procedural issue: whether the cases should be sent back to state court. Cities and counties should now be able to continue with the cases, in which they …CONTINUE READING